So the last few weeks really have been jam-packed with international competition dates getting closer, getting the younger horses out to local shows, taking up my new rider rep role and the RDA! It’s all keeping me busy and out of trouble!

Taking it personally

I’ve been working really hard since the New Year with my personal trainer, Ed Simmons, and my biomechanics coach and sports therapist, Darren Bettison. They have both been great in setting a new program for the start of the year and pushing me into the best shape possible for my riding.

It’s so useful to have 2 motivated and experienced people on hand to keep me going in the right direction and push me at the right times, as well as keep a close eye on technique as everything follows through to my riding. We have been good recently in thinking outside the box and designing some weird and wonderful exercises to connect riding and the gym as much as possible, but it sometimes gets some funny looks!

Road Trip

We recently had squad training followed by Myerscough Premier League. Because the weather has been so terrible we used the opportunity to use the fantastic facilities at the Unicorn Trust, and I took my 3 boys, Reece (Valerius), Noki (Pinocchio — pictured) and Jorge (Fatal Attraction), Emma Sheardown’s Wolfie, and Ange took her stallion, Loki for his first time out in quite a while, so we called in Mark Perry and his transporter for his services so we could all go in one big lorry.

We did manage to fill the entire lorry with 5 horses and all the kit! Jackie and Neil Walker, Noki’s owners, came over for dinner on the first night which was lovely. We don’t get to see them that often, but they don’t live far from Stow, so it’s always a good opportunity to catch up. They have been amazing owners for over 5 years now, and I appreciate them every day for giving me the opportunity!

All the horses went really well, and Noki was in deep preparation for Myerscough Premier League, which we went to the day after getting back from squad training. It was his first big show of the year, so he was so excited to be there.

I was really pleased with how he went, particularly as he kept the piaffe in the test, which we normally struggle with. We got top 10 both days in the inter 2 and grand prix which I was really pleased with. My mission is to now get a freestyle sorted for him — our first grand prix freestyle! We will have a lot of fun choosing the music and hopefully even more fun riding it.

Soph